Glossary of all things canvas

A Canvas Glossary

Below are is list of terms you may encounter in your search for the perfect canvas print for your home. We hope these will explain everything you will need to understand, as we really don’t think it should be that difficult to get your photo on canvas, but some people like to make everything into a science! If you think we’ve missed any important terms, or definitions then let us know.

Abstract Art

A style of modern art created with a series of shapes and colours in what is usually a structured, repeat pattern. Abstract art can be based on a recognisable subject, but often bears minimal resemblance to the intended subject matter and is seen as an artist's interpretation. Abstract art is utilised on a commercial scale in the fashion and interior design industry, with wallpaper patterns and for canvas wall art helping to create a modern living space, or office environment.

Artist's Canvas

Traditionally an Artist’s Canvas is made from 100% cotton and should be brilliant white, so as not to effect colour. Cotton canvas varies in weight, but heavier canvas is ideal for canvas printing, with a suggested minimum weight of 400gsm as it needs to be pulled tight across the frame.

Digital Art

Digital Art is commonly understood to be artwork created either entirely on computer, or altered/enhanced on computer. Enhanced images may be taken from scans, or more commonly from digital photography. CAD (Computer-Aided-Design) programmes such as Photoshop, or Illustrator are often used to create special effects.

Diptych (dip tik) Wall Canvas

Artwork split across two separate canvases. Each canvas print can be considered a complete artwork itself, but when displayed together they form a larger fully integrated piece of artwork, usually from the same image, or theme. Diptych wall canvases are most effective when displayed on plain walls.

Gallery Wrap

The artwork is printed with a ‘bleed’ and is externally stretched over the frame. Gallery wrap means that there are no white, or coloured edges and means the artwork does not need to be trimmed to an exact size, which is useful when creating hand-crafted canvas prints.

Giclée (jee clay)

What is now commonly known as ‘Canvas Prints,’ Giclée is French for ‘sprayed ink’ and refers to the process of ink-jet printing on canvas. The process has developed rapidly with modern printers achieving 1440dpi and capable of printing almost the entire colour spectrum, with high-definition on blacks and gradients.

Giclée Printer / Digital Printer

More commonly referred to as a ‘Digital Printer,’ giclée printers are ink-jet printers designed specifically for producing wide-format prints. Unlike most inkjet printers that use 4 colour cartridges, giclée printers utilise 7 different colour ink cartridges enabling a wider colour range, with increased gradient depth.

Poly Art Canvas

Cheap, low quality plastic-canvas hybrid seen as an alternative to the 100% cotton canvas used by Your Image 2 Canvas. Poly Art Canvas is usually thinner than traditional canvas used in canvas printing, weighing 250gsm, which is less than the card used in greeting cards.

Pop Art

Made famous by visionaries Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Pop Art is a broad term used to describe art that focuses on iconic images from popular culture, such as comic strips, foods and famous retro consumer brands, such as ‘Campbell’s Soup’. Other images are taken from TV, magazines and films, with the most famous representation being the ‘Marilyn Monroe’ prints. Pop Art is usually created with vibrant colours and lends itself well to canvas printing, due to the ‘mass-produced’ nature of the original artworks.


The process of digital reworking an image to enhance it, either in colour vibrancy, or to make the subject more aesthetically pleasing. Retouching, also known as ‘Photoshopping,’ was made famous due to its disputed use in fashion and lifestyle magazines. Retouching can be used to merge two images to create a unique artwork.

Stretched Canvas

Cotton canvas stretched tightly over a wooden frame. Traditionally used by artists for oil paintings, but now a common term for the final printed canvas stretched and stapled in place around the frame.

Stretcher Bars

The canvas frame on which the canvas print is mounted can be expanded by the use of small wooden wedges, which are tapped into the corner joints to gently stretch the canvas. The frame has rounded edges to ensure that the canvas is not ripped when stretched. Pine is the most common wood used for stretcher bars and frames as it is sturdy, yet lightweight, making it ideal for wall-hanging.

Triptych (trip tik) Wall Canvas

You’ve guessed it...  Wall Art comprising of three separate canvas.

Wall Canvas Art

A generic term used to describe canvas prints hung on a wall, often with internal frames and hung flat against a wall. Canvas Wall Art can either be purchased stock art, or personal photography, or artwork printed onto canvas via digital printers.

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